Sunday, September 20, 2015


British Columbia, Canada, August 14, 2015

Ok, I've been really bad at not blogging, too busy with life but Fat Dog was a race worth chatting about.  So here it is a month later.

After not making Hardrock again, I searched all over for another fun race and somehow Fat Dog caught my attention.  A point to point run, just short of Everest for elevation gain, MOST scenic ultra race in Canada and on the top 9 toughest ultras list by Outside Online!!.  Now that's my kind of race!!

Why would you not want to run here??

So it must have been around February that I signed up for Fat Dog.  I talked my wife, Kristin, into running the 70 miler as she would be recovering from the VT100 just 4 weeks earlier.  Coming off a really busy year personally with very little racing, I hoped that this year I would more time to focus on racing.  But as it turned out this year has been just as busy.  And my training really started in April after running the Rollin Irish Half Marathon and getting a good reality check.  I probably set a personal worst time but more than that, it hurt so bad that I collapsed after the finish line and lied down on the side of the road trying to recover.  I got my butt handed to me that day!  But also knew I had some work ahead of me.

In early May, Kasie Enman literally dragged me down to run a 10 mile trail race on the Merrimack River.  Worst part was I had to get up at 3:00 am to meet Kasie to drive down morning of the race.  I was promised that I could sleep in the car on the way down, but that never happened.  So with only a few hours sleep, I managed to hurl myself on this 10 mile course and did it hurt!

Merrimack 10 miler

The following weekend was the the Sleepy Hollow 10k mountain run.  I ran it the previous year in the deep mud. This year proved to be much drier but still a lot of fun and a great workout.  Next up was the Vermont City Marathon.  I am and have been the pace team coordinator for the Vermont City Marathon for the past 4-5 years and never know if I have to pace it or can race it until minutes before the start.  With the good luck on my side, I was able to race it again.  Pulled off another sub 3 hour again but that margin is getting smaller each year as father time creeps on.

Vermont City Marathon

After that training consisted of Tuesday night weekly trail races at Catamount and once or twice weekly long runs on either Mt. Mansfield or Camel's Hump.  Coming into Fat Dog I was running 100-110+/- miles per week for 2 solid months and finally feeling pretty good.

So Kristin and I are busy packing up and getting ready for our 10:00 am flight the next morning to Vancouver. As I'm trying to print out the boarding passes after checking in, I get a special message from United stating our first flight has been cancelled!!  But they were nice enough to book us on a new flight a day later???  At that point I had enough and went for a run as Kristin took over to try to re-book our flights.  So instead of flying out at 10:00 am we had to fly out at 6:00 am in order to keep us on schedule.  And as usual it was chaotic at BTV.  We knew we were in trouble checking in our bags when the guy whipped out a sharpie and hand wrote our destination on the bag tags.  Then I got word as I was going through security that I had 10 seconds to get to the gate or I would miss the flight.  Shoes in hand, bags dragging behind I ran to make the flight.  Why it is so hard to fly these days??

Next flight out of LAG to Denver we had to run to catch the plane too but worst part was arriving in Vancouver and watching for our bags on the carousal.  Nothing!  We really didn't expect to see them and sure enough we didn't.  Luckily we had the most important items with us, race day shoes and shorts.  We can find the rest hopefully.  So off to the Lodge at Manning Park, the start finish of Fat Dog!

Incredible Views and Trails

Manning Park was awesome, sort of a mini Yosemite atmosphere out in the middle of the Cascade Mountains of BC.  Once we got checked in we were off for a quick run on some new trails.  We had no idea where we were going and got lost but still, we had a great time running under these enormous pine trees.  Next day we did some more exploring and found the start of the 70 mile race, which Kristin would be running, up a 8-9 mile road across from the Lodge.  We did drive up and found incredible trails along the ridge.

Kristin enjoying the views

Kristin was so excited looking at the views that she tripped on a rock and fell hard on the trail, luckily just some minor blood and bruising.

Crashed and burned but ok

After that we were back at the Lodge looking for our lost luggage and still no signs of any recovery or even knowing what country they might be in so we had to find a running store.  Not the easiest task out in the middle of nowhere.  But with a little luck we drove 90 minutes to Chilliwack and found a running store:)  We got most of what we needed there and then found a Dollar store for more goodies like drop bags and other odds and ends.  And then back to the Lodge to pack up drop bags as I had to have mine in order for the next morning.  Kristin had an extra day but still needed to get organized too.

Thursday morning I had to drop off my drop bags and we both decided to sign up for the research project which meant about an hour of "lab" work which included cognitive and other physical tests before the race.   The hard part would be to participate in these tests right after we crossed the finish line to compare results of these tests.  Then we had to drive up to Princeton for the pre-race briefing about an hour away which is where we would be catching the shuttle the next morning to the race start another hour+ away.   Being a point to point out in the middle of nowhere creates some scheduling challenges.

Next morning I found a ride to the start with Greg Veltkamp and his crew/pacer Joe so no need for the shuttle :) We drove over hill and dale and eventually found the start.  Saw some cool mountain sheep on the way.   A 10:00 am start is perfect in my book as I'm definitely not a morning person but it was warm, too warm.  And right at the start we began to climb and climb and then climb some more.  I was feeling good but had to back it down a bit as I knew I would be in trouble with the heat and cramping.  I was running in 20-25th place and had settled in to a good pace.  After about an hour I did my first electrolyte pill.  Aid stations in this race are spaced farther apart than in many other races so you had to be prepared for the longer spans.  I carried with me a 1.5 liter bag plus two 17 ounce bags of fluid.  That seemed to work well as I never ran out of fluid.  Aid stations were well stocked with food and gels too so plenty of ways to get calories in.  I was right on schedule coming into the Cathedral aid station.  Next up was Ashnola at mile 18, I was a little behind but not bad.  But after that coming into Trapper at mile 22, I was starting in with signs of cramping so had to back down and increase the electrolyte supplements  Cramping is something I have always had to deal with.  Some races I have no issues, others it drops me down hard.  I was hoping that the colder temps would be coming in to help and they did come in during the run to Calcite, the next aid station but intense cramping was already occurring as I crossed the summit of Flattop which stopped me dead on the trail probably 8-10 times.  And during that down time on Flattop the rains had kicked in along with hail, wind and lightning.  As I sat there totally locked up on the summit waiting to be struck by lightning I was thinking, this really isn't fun anymore and why am I up here and I'm so done!!  I was counting how long the thunder came after the lightning to see how close it really was and it was right there.
Fog and rain along Flattop

Finally another runner came by and asked if I needed any salt pills.  I said I had some but my hands were frozen and couldn't get to them.  He opened up his pill pouch and offered me some but still, my fingers couldn't grab anything so he put four pills in the palm of my hand, thank you!!  So over the next 15 minutes I managed to put down three electrolyte pills (I dropped one and couldn't get to it) which was enough to get me off of the summit and slowly moving downhill to the next aid station, at Calcite somewhere around mile 31.  This last section really took it's toll on me.  I went from being in 28th place to well over 100th place and losing some serious time.  Heading down to Calcite I knew I was in trouble, soaking wet and exposed to driving winds along the summit I was beyond shivering.  I started giving myself the self test for hypothermia.  Been there before and not a good place to be so I knew to check.  Well, the shivering had stopped which sometimes puts you in the later stages so I started to talk to myself out loud.  I tried to say my name but all that came out was some unrecognizable slur.  I was seriously slurring all my words.  Not good!!  I knew I had to get some warm clothes and warm up if I even thought about continuing after the next aid station and truthfully I was fully prepared to drop with every excuse in the book to justify it.  Still, it didn't sit right.  I once DNF'd at a 100 miler and felt like a slug and loser and didn't want to do that again.  But I also wanted to finish this race alive and not end up frozen in the woods somewhere.  Just before Calcite Joe Holland, a friend from the East came by and was looking good.  That helped me mentally wanting to move forward but still needed to get warm.  Once at Calcite I found a warm fire pit with a number of other runners who had already dropped and were trying to get warm before they had a ride out of there.  As I was attempting to warm up, another friend, Bogie, came in.  He saw me in trouble and offered me a dry fleece he had in a drop bag there to get me to the next aid station 10 miles away where I had a complete change of clothing and would run with me to make sure I got there OK.  That truly saved me.  I got warm dry clothes on, some warm food in me and off we went, slowly but moving forward.  After about 30 minutes I was able to speak fluidly again without slurring so I knew things were improving.  My earlier goals of  finishing in 30 hours or so now turned to just finishing and staying warm.

Bogie and I made it down to Pasayten, crossed the river which felt great and ended up at the Bonnevier aid station around mile 41 where I had my drop bag.  I gave my dry fleece back to Bogie and changed into my own dry clothes.  I also added a hefty bag to my wardrobe.  My rain coat was great back at UTMB in 2011 not so great at the TDG in 2013 and now was worthless as far as repelling rain.  So I added the custom plastic bag to wear under my rain coat.  I took my time getting warm and dry and eating as I knew there was a big climb coming and about 12 miles until the next aid station.  I continued to lose placement in the race but it just didn't matter at this point.  Survival and staying warm was priority as I still had 80 miles to go.

Back on the trail, warm and dry I was slowly feeling better.  Little by little I was passing runners heading up to the Heather aid station on the top of the next peak which would be another 4 hours away.  Nearing Heather we would be summiting another peak with full exposure to the elements once again.  Rain and fog continued so it was just miserable along this ridge.  Finally made it to Heather, mile 53, around 1:30 in the morning.  There was a rather primitive tent set up barely holding on with the high winds and rain.  Inside it was like a war zone with runners huddled under space blankets trying to stay warm.  Some had warm water bottles on them to keep their core warm.  And included was Joe Holland who was having some difficulties and was regrouping himself.  Despite all the challenges, the volunteers were truly amazing there, helping in any way possible.  My hands were frozen and of no use to me but a volunteer helped me get warm food, change into some other dry clothes, and put on my gloves for me.  And then sent me on my way with a warm Quesadilla to go.  Then it was supposed to be downhill to Nicomen Lake, mile 62 or so but it really wasn't downhill.  It was more like rolling terrain for most of it still in the exposed elements.  Along this stretch I came across Bogie who I hadn't seen since Bonnevier.  He was just cruising along.  Finally I dropped down and arrived at Nicomen Lake Aid Station around 4:30 am.    The rain and wind had let up.  There really wasn't much at this aid station on the side of the mountain but they did have tequila:)  They claimed no one had partook in the tequila yet but were looking for takers so I volunteered.  They do it at Hardrock, why not at Fat Dog.  So I started a new tradition at Fat Dog, they even got a picture of it but I haven't seen it yet.  So onward to Cayuse, another 11 miles away but mostly downhill.

I ran a lot of this section with Bogie, the rains had let up some and it was warming up as we were heading to lower elevations.  Everything was starting to feel better except daylight was starting and it made me more tired.  I needed food and drink.  Finally 3 hours later I rolled into Cayuse, mile 73.

Almost dried out, but not for long.

I had a drop bag there and took my sweet time changing and reorganizing as this was my last major stop until the finish.  I had one more small drop bag with an extra layer later at mile 99 but from here on in I had to be prepared for anything.  Bogie was telling me I could still get in under 36 hours for the "special" buckle and I just couldn't see it but was trying to calculate in my head when I might finish.  I kept thinking I still had 50 miles to go once we hit the next Cascades aid station but once I got there I realized it was only 42 miles and thought if I kicked it in, I might be able to be sub 36.  So after Cascades I put it in high gear and was running at sub marathon pace for quite a while.  That was great for a while, then the rains kicked in again and made running miserable again.  I was totally soaked and kept getting a burning sensation around my legs and couldn't figure out what it was.  The lower prickers with the rain on them made them rub against your shins and it was a constant burn for miles and miles.  There was just nothing you could do but grin and bear it.  So it was a long haul to mile 99 which was the last major aid station before the final summit up and over Skyline.  Just heading into the Skyline aid station I saw another friend Greg Veltkamp who had passed by me as I was warming up at Calcite 70 miles ago.  He was on his way to summit Skyline.  At the aid station I took my time as I was cold and wet and did a complete change of clothing putting on all the warm layers I had including the hefty bag.   Ate some good food and then was off to the next summit.  It was still raining when I left but shortly thereafter before the next climb, it finally ended.  Little by little I was peeling off layers as I was seriously overheating and didn't want another episode of cramping.  Within the next 30 minutes I was down to shorts and a t-shirt and feeling good climbing and climbing.

Rain finally stopped along Skyline.

I continued to pass other runners along the way.  By the next aid station at Camp Mowich, mile 107, I had caught up to Greg and his pacer Joe.  I really didn't know how much time we had to spare but was concerned about breaking 36 hours so moved ahead of Greg and Joe.  This last section had some of the steepest climbs of the race.  Weird thing was that I felt like I had been on these trails before but had never been to BC before.  At the pre-race meeting they mentioned that once you saw the burned trees you had a downhill to the finish.  Problem was we saw at least 4 sections of burned out trees with steep uphills in between so if you run this race, beware of the false burned out peaks, as there are more than one.

Finally it was time to go downhill and down and down you went all the way to Lightning Lake.  And darkness was starting to set in again so on with the headlamp.  At many points you could see the lake but kept switch-backing back and forth not getting there.  Then the headlamp started blinking, low battery.  Just get me to the finish!  Luckily with this new Petzl Nao I knew I had over an hour on low beam to get in.  And this headlamp got me through the entire first night and then this second night too on a rechargeable battery.  Sweet!!

And so it goes, I came in with time to spare under the 36 hours.  35 hours, 19 minutes and 47 seconds, 29th overall and first in my age group.  Not the race that I had hoped for but sometimes you have to change your goals mid race and just run for fun.

Bogie and Jack post race

And then back to the research project.  As runners crossed the line, the runners in the research project were called in to do experiments right after they crossed the finish line.  They did allow me to eat something as I was famished.  But still, I was exhausted after being up for nearly 40 hours and running 120 miles.  It was sort of comical as they gave me the cognitive tests.  I argued with the tester at one point telling him the computer was wrong and that I was right as I kept falling asleep while talking.  The other tests I did lying down and was sleeping for part of it.

Then I was back to check in at the Lodge at 1:00 am to get settled before returning to the finish line to cheer on Kristin who was finishing her 70 mile race.  And she had an incredible race!!

Kristin patiently waiting for the start of the 70 miler in the rain.

Overall this race was AWESOME.  The area is superb with outstanding views.  The mountains are big and steep so don't be surprised at all the climbing and descending.  Aid stations were incredible and volunteers, the best ever.  Just take the time to make sure your accommodations are in order as the logistics can be a bit challenging.  Put it on your bucket list of races!!

Jack, Joe, Greg and Kristin post race. No whiney babies here!

Why run this race??

The Prize !

And the Grand Prize, with tequila :)

Post Race

Equipment:  The Pearl Izumi Trail M2's were awesome.  Wore the same pair of shoes for 120 miles.  Did change my socks 5 times as they were filling up with mud and debris from the torrential rains.  Petzl NAO was the best for illuminating the night sky.  And Body Glide saved more than my butt running in rain for 24 hours.

Pearl Izumi Trail M2 v2 were awesome !!

Some days are better than others.  But in the end you have to be happy with yourself and do what you have to do.  As the shirt says, "suck it up whiney baby".

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

THE RUNNING SUMMIT and 2015 Outlook

THE RUNNING SUMMIT EAST - Distance Coaching Clinic

2014 was a crazy busy year for me in many respects, all good, but finally I can see some light and am redirecting my energies back to the running world.  I just returned from a quick trip to New Jersey, driving 6 hours in the snow. Not my favorite place to go but definitely a worthwhile trip.  I attended a running conference featuring some of the top coaches and authors from the sport of running sharing their expertise.  In my coaching of runners I want to be able to provide the best advice I can.  I have a lot of practical experience myself and often look at myself as a human guinea pig and I've been to other conferences and certifications as well.  I'm always looking for ways to better train my athletes.  The Running Summit East had some great discussions on the best way to train whether you're an elite or a recreational runner.  The speakers provided real data based on tons of research and got into topics like more effective training sessions including high intensity training, how to eat like an elite and the newest data on hydration.  We also had a hands on application of the principles of efficient running which was a lot of fun getting to run and then analyze each other's running.  My group really enjoyed ripping my running apart.  This was followed up with a session of core sequences including yoga to maximize the full power of your body for better running.

Now I get to put these new techniques and practices to use with my running clients and with my own running.


British Columbia

I'm now starting to look forward to the 2015 racing season for myself.  With no luck getting into Hardrock or UTMB I found an awesome race in British Columbia, The Fat Dog 120.  A point to point race of 120 miles with over 28,000 feet of climbing in some of the most scenic areas of Canada.  Noted as one of the toughest Ultra races in the world by Outside Magazine, it's BC's answer to Hardrock without all the hype.  Sounds like my kind of race :)

Fat Dog 120

I'm also getting pressure from the better half to run the Javelina 100 in Arizona.  It's a loop course of 15 miles, not my favorite but have never run this and it may be a group trip:)   We'll see.

Javelina Jundred
Now to fill in with some other races along the way.

Happy Trails,


Monday, January 5, 2015



The year has come and gone.  It's been a very busy year, all good, but I just didn't have the time to get in one 100 miler this year so with a few days left in the year and the only opportunity available I took advantage of the situation.  Our holiday guests left at around 9 or 10 am so I figured I could get my act together and be out the door by noon for a 100 mile run about.  It was Saturday December 28th and with Kristin home, I didn't have to worry about entertaining the dogs either.  Quickly I came up with 4 different loops originating from home which would be my main aid station.  Other than that, I would carry the credit card with me for emergencies for the one loop into town (Burlington).  The rest of the route would be on the back rolling hills of Charlotte, Hinesburg, Monkton and Ferrisburg.

I laid out clothing for changing between loops and a variety of packs to use.  Temps were unseasonably warm, high 30's and low 40's but with a steady wind out of the south.  A change of clothes would be nice to prevent any hypothermia after sweating.  And I chose to wear shorts as it would certainly be too warm for tights. Over heating for me is like blowing a thermostat so I wanted to avoid that.  I set up some snacks at the aid station (dining room table) and Kristin added some awesome goodies to the mix.

I gave Kristin a quick look at my proposed plan and opted to not even carry a phone as I would never be more than 15 miles from home and just didn't want to bother with it either.  Kristin planned on running part of the first loop with me to see me off and then the final loop with me Sunday morning if all went well.

Ready to head out, just need the Pearls on my feet.

So noon came and for once I was ready and almost on time as we headed out the door.  We both struggled a bit as the first 2 1/2 miles is pretty much all uphill and we were sweating out and peeing out all the alcohol and food we consumed over the holidays.  At mile 5 Kristin turned around and headed home saying her goodbyes sending me off on my Holiday Adventure.

The first loop was a rolling country loop of mostly dirt roads.  With all the warm temps, it was full on mud season.  I was wearing the Pearl Izumi N2 road shoe as there was no snow or ice to deal with.  Typically in the winter I'll wear a trail shoe for added traction but that was not needed.  First major obstacle would be the dual German Shepherds over in Hinesburg.  The house has the "Deliverance" look about it but the dogs are even scarier.  They like to come up from behind looking for a meal.  About a mile before I was prepared for those varmints, I was approaching the crest of a hill and could see ears looking towards me.  Never seen a dog there before but as I got closer I could see it was definitely waiting for me.  I quickly found a stick and continued forward.  The  stick only got him more excited and he started coming at me but as I looked he had more of a smile than a sneer and only wanted to play fetch so we did as I got him back home that way.  As I got closer to the Shepherd home I found a better stick and also a 10 lb rock for protection.  I must have looked rather silly running with a rock and a stick but better to be prepared than not.  I quietly ran up and by and snuck through without causing any interaction, this was good and I was most relieved:)

So on I went into the head wind into Monkton and Ferrisburg.  The roads were so soft that it felt like you were running on squishy marshmallows and it was difficult at times to maintain a good stride.  And it was tiring.  What I discovered at about mile 20 was that I was tired from not sleeping much for 3 nights and was hungry and didn't have enough food with me.  But only 6 more miles and I could refuel.  Not a big deal.

I finally made it home at mile 26 and 4 hours into it and the aid station looked wonderful thanks to my lovely wife Kristin.

Home Aid Station

I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some coke and a pickle which was awesome.  I picked at a few more things and changed out of some sweaty clothes.  I took my time as there was no one else running so there was no need to hurry.  I decided to change my shoes too into the Pearl Izumi H3 road shoes as the next loop for 30+ miles I would be heading into Burlington to see the Xmas lights and running mostly on asphalt and concrete.  The H3 has the most cushion and support which was definitely the right choice :)  So after about a 30 minute break I was out the door again into the darkness with headlamp on.

Thr run into town was somewhat effortless, nice and easy and with the wind at my back.  I was also all fueled up so was feeling good again.  That first loop really toasted me and I was ready to quit and wasn't feeling motivated but Kristin would have no part of that.  For this Burlington loop I had grabbed a sport drink which I will not name.  I had tried it in the past and it made me nauseous then but with many other runners having good success I thought I might try it again.  Well, every sip was a struggle but I knew I needed to drink and so I did.  I ran the back roads into Shelburne then RT 7 north since it had a sidewalk and I really didn't feel safe running at night on Spear or Dorset St.   But I did venture off and run on the SB rec path up and around UVM to get off the beaten path.  From there I headed into the old North End and all around seeing the festive holiday lights making my way to Church St.

Church Street, Burlington, VT

Church St. was buzzing with holiday folks and all the stores and restaurants lit up.  For me it was mile 44 and I was getting hungry again.  I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the pack but I wanted something different. So I stopped at Ken's Pizza for a slice and a coke.  It was the BEST! And it probably fueled me for a good 10 miles before I was even hungry again.  I also picked up some Gatorade at Ken's.  It seemed better at the time than that other drink and I could at least get it down.   

Food of Champions

Heading from Burlington towards Charlotte the wind was starting to crank out of the south and right in my face and it seemed to be getting stronger each mile.  Trying to avoid the direct in your face wind I took some alternative side routes going more east and west to break it up.  It would add miles but that was ok as it would be less miles needed on one of the other loops.  These alternative routes were good for a while but soon enough I was running into a dead on wind again.  By the time I reached Shelburne Village the wind was really gusting.  There was no way to avoid it either.  I decided to run on Mt. Philo Road which became a wind tunnel at times.  Luckily it wasn't frigid out and was bearable even though it would knock me sideways at times with the gusts. Finally I was home and squeaked out 34 miles on this loop so was now at 60 miles, only 40 to go!

Mile 60 Aid Station

Another relaxing break at the home base aid station.  Shoes off, change of clothes, eat and chill out for a bit, more like 30 minutes.  Nice thing about using the home for aid stations, heat, bathrooms, a refrigerator and slippers!

For the next loop I decided to change it up.  I had built up some extra mileage and wanted to avoid some of that screaming wind so I decided to stay lower and run the west side of Charlotte.  I had originally mapped out a loop to Hinesburg with a lot of north to south running but this would be better.  So off I went.  I grabbed another bottle of that awful drink figuring it had electrolytes and calories which would be good.  Off I went....about a quarter mile down the road I realized I forgot the hand held water bottle.  Not good so back home and out the door again, this time with the hand held.  Originally I was using a pack and had the water bottles in it but wasn't using a bladder and had a difficult time grabbing the water bottle out so decided a hand held would be more efficient.  I ran all the usual east Charlotte Roads and did an out and back with some variations thrown in and some hills to change it up as the east side is relatively flat.  Not a very exciting loop although I had to go by the "mountain lion" section twice but didn't see any eyes following me which was good.  There have been numerous sightings of a large 90-110 lb cat in this area.  How would one fight off such a large critter especially if it came up from behind?  Luckily it was a quiet night with a few sprinkles of rain here and there.  Hopefully the rain would hold off too.  By 4:01 am I was back at home, now at mile 82.  When I started on Saturday I had predicted arrival times at the house and figured I would be home at this point at 4:00 am, only off by 1 minute.

Kristin and Jen would be joining me for the last loop of 18 miles but Kristin somehow thought my times were off and I wouldn't be back until 5:00 am so I had to wait a bit for Jen to arrive and for Kristin to get ready.  That was fine as I was in no hurry and could sit back and relax with puppies and in my slippers:)

Mile 82 Aid Station with Charlotte

I had a quick look at the weather and we were in big hole surrounded by rain which was coming quickly.  I decided to put on the light tights as we would be heading back to East Charlotte and have a 3 mile section head on into the wind.  Running in shorts in that would not be fun, especially if it was raining.  Waiting for the girls I was eating another peanut butter and jelly sandwich and coke when all of a sudden I was not feeling so good.  All of that "special drink" mixed together with Gatorade was coming to a head and I went running outside as Jen was arriving.  Yes, purged big and got rid of all of that belly sitting fluid.  Kristin came out with the camera to get pics as she thought it would be nice to document the run, what a nice wife.  Luckily I was done by then and was feeling much better.  I was able to nibble on some food after all that wrenching which was a good thing.  After almost an hour break I was out the door with Kristin and Jen for the final loop.

Final loop with Kristin and Jen

Heading out it was starting to rain a bit so I had put on the raincoat too.  The first 2 1/2 miles is all uphill so of course I was overheating in the rain coat and tights so I took off the coat as the rain let up.  And I was tired.  I was doing a fair amount of walk/run, walk/run.  As soon as we hit Guinea Road the wind was right in our face again so back on with the raincoat to prevent any hypothermia and kept it on for the next 3 miles.  After that it was off again as we were no longer battling the wind.  I wasn't feeling the best, the legs felt fine but the belly ached a little.  It would come and go and I was able to nibble on some food.  My running was good in spurts then I would just slow down and walk for a while.  This loop had us in part of Ferrisburgh and Monkton before returning to Charlotte.  More squishy dirt roads and luckily the rain was holding off.  Finally back onto Guinea Road for the last leg with the wind at our backs and only 5 1/2 miles to go!  I was starting to feel energized and wanted to be done so I starting to pick up the pace a bit making the girls work.  Nothing like some speed work at mile 95 :)  The final 2 miles are all downhill, add in a quick loop around the train station as we were .30 miles short and I was done.  20 hours and 47 minutes from when I started.

And so it goes, finally a 100 miler to end the year.  Thanks Kristin and Jen for that final loop!!

2014 RECAP

Running for me was not top priority this year as I was just too busy with the house, wedding, new puppy, etc but it was all good.  I still ran every day but ran the fewest miles since 2005.  Only about 3,700 miles for the year.  But my 8 1/2 year streak continues.  I'm just over 35,000 miles for that streak.

The second half of the year was as busy as the first but I ran all the trail races at Catamount and mountain bike raced most of the races too.  And I ran with dogs which was all new for me.  Pippa and I took top honors for the men at the Catamount Canine Crossing 5K.

Pippa and Jack at Catamount

And little puppy Charlotte is becoming an awesome running dog.

Charlotte on Snake Mtn.

I ran the VT 50 mile in September only to realize I was not trained for the heat at all and found myself lying on my back at times rolling around in pain from full on double leg cramps.  I did crew and pace for Kristin at the VT100 and she had an awesome race setting a new 100 mile PR for herself.

Kristin at VT100

Jay Peak Trail Festival in August, I ran two 5k mountain races, placing second and first.

Jack crossing the finish line at Jay

I ran nearly 29 miles at the Run Your Can Off Event this year in November, fewer than usual but I had puppy duty:)

Jack and Charlotte at RYCO

Kristin and I ran the Southbury CT  5K Turkey trot with nearly 2000 runners, both winning our age groups which was fun.  And of course Kristin set another PR for herself.

Southbury Turkey Trot 5K
And of course we ran the Santa 5K race in Burlington in December.  Definitely not a PR for either one but I came in as 3rd male santa and Kristin had a fun run with Braxton.

The house is still consuming a lot of time but it's getting there.  Next up, finishing the upstairs.

Home Sweet Home
I guess it was a busy year.

For 2015 I'm looking forward to another fun year with friends, family, puppies and my wife Kristin :) And some more epic races along with working with Pearl Izumi and coaching other runners.  See you on the trails!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, July 24, 2014



OK, I've been really bad about keeping up with the Blog this year but I've been so wicked busy that I rarely have time to sit down for any length of time.  But finally, things have somewhat calmed down or have come to a state of well being and normal craziness.

Not a lot of time to really race this year but have had the opportunity to throw down a few races for training.

January 2014:  Went on a last minute trip to visit with John in Arizona.  John so happens to have a house there and was there during January and with a free plane ticket this was a no brainer to break away from Vermont to run in shorts mid winter.

John Lacroix training in the hills of Arizona.

COLD WATER RUMBLE 50K:  Somewhere west of Phoenix.  Left Burlington VT at 13 below zero on a Thursday morning.  Flight disaster getting there as usual.  Thanks United!!  Instead of arriving before noon, arrived near 9 pm.  Did manage to get some run time in at the Houston airport as I was stranded there for hours.  They have a great carpeted 1 mile run in the basement where you can do speedwork racing the trains.

Racing in the desert

Saturday morning race starting at 8:00 AM.
For once in my life I was smart and only signed up for the 50K.  Not much training and no heat training.  It quickly warmed up to near 80 degrees in the sun and running in a desert with absolutely no shade among the cacti plants and sand.  I was good for about 20 miles before dehydration and cramping kicked in.  So I had to back it off.  And took a wicked crash at about mile 27 landing on some hard dirt and rock.

Finished!  and totally dehydrated.

Limped it in to a 4th place overall finish.  Was still nice to visit with John and leave the VT winter temporarily.  Bret Sarnquist, formerly a running friend from VT who now resides in Arizona took top honors.  Way to go Bret!!

Bret on course and first to finish the 50K

SLEEPY HOLLOW MOUNTAIN RACE, May 4, 2014.  This was a short 10k mountain race, up and down, up and down at Sleepy Hollow XC Center in Huntington, VT.  Close to home and I was around so I figured why not and a good tune up for Quadrock the next weekend.  Race conditions were full on mud and it was a blast.  I think I ran with a smile the whole time, jumping in and through huge mud holes.  Won some maple syrup too:)

QUADROCK 50 MILER, May 10, 2014 near Fort Collins, CO.  Another last minute thought.  I had to be just outside of Boulder for the Pearl Izumi National Sales Meeting and so happened to find a race near by just days before the meeting.

Pre-race ritual with Mike Weigand
Again, minimal training and no altitude training.  But who needs altitude training as the course barely got up over 7,000 feet with 11,575 feet of vertical gain.  As it turned out, I realized I had been training at 150-250 feet in elevation all winter with no trips even to Mansfield at 4395 feet.  I ran out fast with all the other youngins and by mile 2 was seriously overheated and sucking wind bad.  I pulled over to regroup, delayer and let the heart rate simmer down a bit.  Then I went out and ran my own race.  The course was awesome.  Lots of ups and downs, steep climbing switchbacks, great views and a well run race.  This was a 2 lapper.  You run it one way, come in and then go out and run it in reverse.  It got warm enough during most of the race to get somewhat dehydrated and have some cramping issues but near the end the weather changed and temps were dropping with some drizzle.  I think I finished with a new PW for a 50 miler.  (Personal Worst as opposed to PB, Personal Best).  Still had a lot of fun.

Post race celebration with Kristin Lundy, Julia Lewis and Shannon Price.

KEYBANK VERMONT CITY MARATHON, Burlington, VT., May 21, 2014.  As has been the case for the last 4 or so years, I have the position of Pace Team Coordinator.  I recruit, organize and manage 18 awesome runners who will run at specific pace times to get runners in at a certain goal time.  As the coordinator I have no specific group but am there as a reserve if a pacer has last minute issues and can't run. If all show up at the start line, I can run the race but if not, I fill in as a pacer.  This year again I was blessed with great pacers who did show up so once I got them together and in the corrals I headed to the start line to run.  And as usual as I'm heading over to the start line the National Anthem plays.  Then it's a quick dash to the start line, turn around and race.  Not much time to think about it.  I saw Tony on the line and he asked if I was running 6:15 pace so we could run together.  Not happening....Two weeks earlier I ran the Quadrock 50, did minimal speed work here and there so my goal was survival and to actually go slower than usual so I could hopefully come in under 3:00.  That time is an aging time frame that I'm deathly afraid of.  I've been running sub 3 marathons consistently at VCM since 2004.  My fear is that if I can't do a sub 3 then I'm really getting old and going down that other path.  Some day it will happen but until then I run in fear.  I went out much slower than usual, just as planned trying to run a more even pace throughout and had one of the slower half's ever in a marathon, all good.  Felt good going up Battery Hill.

Then something happened, by mile 16 the wheels just fell off completely.  Everything hurt from my head to my feet and the legs were totally dead.  I went from a 6:30-6:45 pace to more of a 7:30 pace.  I tried running backwards, sideways, stretching and nothing helped.  I ran though the neighborhoods looking at my watch thinking I'm done, I've hit the old age wall and this is it.  By around mile 18 I finally conceded that I had gone over the edge and was on the downward cycle and was trying to accept that....I figured I was so slow I could just wait for one of the pace groups and run in with them.  By mile 19 I was struggling physically and mentally with this whole thing and decided I wasn't ready to accept being old yet.  I made a plan that at mile 20 I would kick it in and if all went well might get in just under 3 if I could get back to a 6:45 pace for the last 6 miles.  I kept my slow slogging going, downed a gel with caffeine, had a drink and as soon I hit that mile 20 I took off.  I was running scared but knew what I had to do.  I started passing others who had passed me in my 6 mile death march and was actually feeling good.
Brand New out of the box for the race, the new Pearl Izumi N0 racing flat.  Awesome shoe!!
 All those aches and pains were gone and I was cruising again.  I ended up passing 12 runners during the last 6 miles.  I crossed the finish line in 2:58:22, escaped another year of "Father Time".  It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.

Another victory over Father Time :)
Now that the marathon was over I had 3 weeks to finish projects around the new house for the "family wedding" in June to be held at our new home.  Biggest concern was getting in the lawn which was still a mudpit a few weeks earlier. And I decided to build a mudroom addition for the dogs 2 weeks before the wedding.  In the end it all somehow happened and now I'm officially married to Kristin Lundy :)

For our honeymoon we decided to have some fun and go for a jump.

The happy couple about to head out the door.

Jack having fun at 12,500 feet

Kristin with big smiles

Here's the house, projects are still underway but the pressure is slightly off so maybe I can train for the fall season ahead.  Need to find a fun 100 miler in Oct./November and some other shorter races leading up to it.

Still a work in progress.

Oh, and the newest addition to the family, Charlotte.  Will she be a running dog??


Look for some race reports coming soon when I 
figure out what I'm racing.